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The sweeping straight-line geometry of Splinter Society’s Monash pavilion

With contextual care and the odd formal flourish, the Monash University Pharmacy Pavilion has been completed by Splinter Society.

The sweeping straight-line geometry of Splinter Society’s Monash pavilion

Designed by Splinter Society Architecture, the Monash University Pharmacy Pavilion is a collaboration with landscape designer Mala, as well as being the sixth endeavour with Monash University’s Buildings, Property and Campus Community and the first with builder Sinjen. The eye-catching pavilion is located on the Parkville Campus along Royal Parade.

Functioning as a connecting structure between an existing building and the streetscape, the pavilion aims to enhance amenity for students, faculty and the public, creating a space that fosters community interaction. One of its notable features is the reinstatement and expansion of a significant Indigenous Medicinal Herb Garden, contributing to the overall lush environment and adding an important First Nations dimension to the campus.

The project navigated through significant site constraints, with a design approach that emphasises respect for the existing context while offering contemporary touches. The pavilion’s exterior is characterised by dark metal with a high gloss finish on the underside, a move aimed at reflecting the nearby Elm trees. This design choice not only enhances the feeling of amenity within the structure but also complies with the stringent building restrictions along the esteemed boulevard.

Under the pavilion’s arching roofline, a low daybed provides a distinctive vantage point. The picture created for users is one of the convergence of tree canopies and architectural reflections. Furthermore, a cluster layout beneath the pavilion provides flexible seating for groups, accommodating up to 40 people in various weather conditions. Serving as an outdoor seating area for an adjacent cafe, the pavilion opens up to the street, creating an interface with the public.

Taking a step back, the design pays homage to the architecturally significant Modernist building in close proximity. It offers a simple and elegant reinterpretation of the straight lines and wedge-shaped details expressed on the facade.

While respecting the existing structure, the pavilion strives to establish its own identity, drawing inspiration from the site’s characteristics. Most strikingly, it’s the sweeping roofline up along the northern aspect that catches the eye. This part of the design allows natural light to permeate the interior of the cafe within, as well as providing a standout visual moment.

Related: Splinter Society at Metung Hot Springs

The interplay between geometry and materiality is another defining aspect of the pavilion. The metal structure creates a harmonious blend of mass and weightlessness, contributing to a contemporary and dynamic aesthetic. To emphasise the pavilion’s geometry at night, a line of integrated lights has been strategically incorporated into the design.

The Monash University Pharmacy Pavilion is a project rooted in collaboration and thoughtful design, with pragmatic touches, contextual care and the odd formal flourish. Attentive to site constraints, respectful of existing structures and committed to enhancing the campus environment, the pavilion stands as a functional and aesthetically pleasing addition to the Parkville Campus.

Splinter Society Architecture

Sharyn Cairns

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